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Honor - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for a New Building

University of Texas at Austin

Engineering Education and Research Center
University of Texas at Austin - Engineering Education and Research Center
Jury Comments
". . . I like that they created both an indoor and outdoor space . . . integral campus passage becomes part of the space . . . the design stimulates engineering . . . "

Highlights

    • Site – 6.79 acres; Building – 433,000 gsf / 242,000 asf
    • LEED Silver (pursuing)
    • The center is celebrated in the design through floor-to- ceiling windows that look onto the atrium.
    • The atrium forms a grand social space that literally bridges between departmental and interdisciplinary pedagogies. In the towers above, departmental and interdisciplinary research labs and work space are similarly linked, visually through transparency and physically by way of enclosed bridges that are packed with shared program.
    • The folded roof structure is self-supporting, self-shading, and self-draining while allowing views from the atrium floor to the top-most levels of the towers.
    • The EERC and its surrounding landscape added a major campus connection between core and central campuses along the previously neglected banks of Waller Creek, established through a carefully staged sequence of new shaded campus green spaces.

Perspectives

The Cockrell School of Engineering, limited by outmoded facilities, sought to revitalize itself with a new building that would house an entirely new interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research. The EERC houses a host of programs intended to attract all engineering students, faculty, and staff. Present in the building are programs previously absent in the Cockrell School, including a café, an innovation center, a media center, an advanced makerspace, an auditorium and conference center, a student organization center, and a suite of indoor study spaces and outdoor terraces. The inclusion of all of these state-of-the- art facilities in one unified building connects the previously fragmented engineering community.

The EERC is a sprawling project whose design involved a vast array of user groups. It required complicated modifications to the campus and complex make-ready work, including phased swing space, major demolition, and fundraising to the tune of $100 million. The complexity of the project was the biggest challenge and would not have been successful without an integrated, open, and collaborative design process that included a carefully constructed “road map” at the outset.

The entire planning process was engineered to ensure alignment with the goals of the Cockrell School and the mission of the university. As a result, the EERC has instantly begun to transform the Cockrell School, fostering community, generating improved campus circulation patterns, activating previously inert campus spaces, and creating momentum and optimism within the precinct.

Project Team

Ennead Architects; also Jacobs; Datum + Gojer Engineers; Affiliated Engineers; Coleman & Associates; Jankedesign; Kroll Schiff Security Services Group; Jacobs Consultancy